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Monday, August 26, 2013- Stewart BC /Hyder AK

We left the motor home at 9AM and drove into town. We stopped at the Visitor Center parking lot and took a picture of the Fjord, as it was visible today. It is named the Portland Canal and is 90 miles long.

Portland Fjord

We continued into Hyder. We stopped to take a picture of the entrance and the town. What you are seeing is pretty much the entire town!

Town of Hyder

We stopped at a gift shop, but the pin was $9.95. I don’t think so…. I passed on that pin.

We drove past the bear viewing area. About 1/3 mile later the road became gravel.

Road to Salmon Glacier

It was 17 rough miles to the top view point of the Salmon Glacier. The road on the flat area was not too bad, but it became rougher. We traveled through some construction, which was narrow and pretty chewed up. That only lasted about 1/4 mile, then the road smoothed out again, with just a few potholes and some washboard. We stopped at the lookout over the tongue of the Salmon Glacier.

Salmon Glacier tongue

 

Salmon Glacier

At the top of the glacier, there was a look-out and a guy who was selling books and a bear DVD. He showed us these rough looking ice piles. One week ago, they were in the Salmon Lake, which is now gone. The change in the weather has caused the ice to shrink into the lake and basically, the lake is gone for this season.

Salmon Glacier lake frozen

We looked at the glacier and drove back down the mountain.  This is Summit Lake.

Summit Lake

As we were approaching the bear viewing area, we spotted a black bear crossing the road in front of us. He went under the boardwalk, which is between the two parking lots, and disappeared. He was too fast for us to get a picture.  We stopped to look for him but never found him. We walked all the way to the other end of the boardwalk, but never saw any sign of a bear.

We continued back into town. The Hyder General Store was now open, so we stopped in and and I was able to purchase a Hyder pin for $3.95. Much better!

We decided to go check out the dump. There was road construction right there, but the gal, with the direction flags, pointed out how to get to the dump. We drove in, turned left, and there was this big guy chomping away. He had  his head down, chewing. Bob had the camera and said, “okay big guy, look at me”, and he must have heard Bob as he picked up his head and looked directly at us.

Black bear at dump

Bob didn’t ask the bear to smile, but evidently he is part ham!

Black Bear at Hyder dump

We must not have been an threat, as he stared for about a minute, then started chomping away again! We stayed in the car, about 50 yards away.

We returned through Canadian Customs, with the gal asking more questions this time.  This is the sign as you are leaving Hyder.  When we left Hyder, we left Alaska for the last time.

Hyder sign leaving town

We stopped for lunch at the local Bakery/Deli in Stewart. We walked in and there were Wayne and Margie, just sitting down. They had already ordered. So we joined them for lunch.

Here are some pictures of Stewart.

DSCN2454

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Dowtown Steward

Buildings in Steward

After lunch, we went to the Steward Museum. The museum is in an old government  building. We stopped in the office to pay($5 ea). They had a Stewart pin, free, with a donation, so we gave the gal a Tooney. She also gave me a BC pin.

1-DSCN2458

We wandered through the downstairs, which had the courthouse, then we went upstairs to the room where they have a movie. We watched the movie, which was very well done, by a local resident. it explained al lot about the history of Steward. We also wandered through the exhibits upstairs.

At one point there was a Hyder BC, during prohibition, the folks from Hyder AK just walked across the border to the bars and drank. Hyder BC is now just pilings in the canal, near where the Canadian customs is located.

A little history. In 1793 Cap. Vancouver entered and charted the Portland canal. Then the area was left dormant until 1898. An American named Burgess swindled 65 people into going to the head of the canal. He claimed that it was a short cut to the Klondike gold fields. He left them off that night and took off with their money and the boat, leaving them sitting in the middle of nowhere! Of the 65 that landed in the Portland canal, only 3 stayed to try their luck.

The Stewart brothers were born in Leith Scotland and immigrated to Vancouver island in 1890 where the family had a small farm. John Stewart went to the Klondike gold fields and came back disappointed. He heard that there was gold in the Portland Canal. In 1903 he staked his first claim. In 1904 he discovered that the tide flats were in Canada and thought it might be a good idea to start a town, which would be more profitable than mining. In 1905 the town was born and named for the first Postmaster, his brother Robert Stewart. One of the local newspaper editors was bored one day, so he decided to post in the newspaper that there was a gold strike in Stewart. The story was picked up worldwide and  that led to a gold rush, which got the town up and running. By 1910, the town population was up to 10,000 people.

In 1972, the town recorded a snowfall of 92 ft., as recorded at the Tide Lake Weather Station, which is the most snow ever recorded in Canada. The town business is mining, then lumber, and third is the movie industry! Recently there were car commercials filmed here. In addition there were five movies filmed in town. First was Bear Island staring Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, and Lloyd Bridges.

Next was Iceman, staring Kurt Russell. More recently was Insomnia, starring Robin Williams, Al Pacino, and  Hillary Swank.. The docent said that the town adopted Robin Williams, as he hung out in the town. Hillary Swank went to dinner at peoples houses and Al Pacino spent the time on his yacht  not socializing. Finally the last movie filmed there was Eight Below.

We stopped a the gas station and the grocery store. Returned to the motor home. We stayed in and watched TV this evening.

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